Today I will cover some thoughts from Scripture on what it means to be a good friend — unfailing friend—someone who sacrificially loves and has a genuine concern—someone who puts their friend before themselves. Let’s discover how to be a true friend for what you can give instead of what you can get.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13
The Lord commands us to love others in the same way that He loves us. Jesus sacrificed His life for us! He died on the cross and He is commanding that we lay down our lives for our friends. Wow, now that is a strong statement! The truth is you probably won’t be called to die for your friends, as Jesus did…but as I see it, you are called to have unfailing sacrificial love for your friends.
In Proverbs 19:22, Solomon says, “ What a man desires is unfailing love”
Unfailing love is what we have from our Lord and it is what we yearn for from one another. We want our friends to be kind and never abandon us. While it is easy to love people that love us, it takes discipline to show unfailing love when a friend is needy, in need of a great deal of help, or is unkind.
I believe that the story of Job and his three friends shows us what unfailing, sacrificial, and deep friendship looks like. While Job’s three friends are most commonly known for how they accuse Job for his misery, I like to refer to them as “the original three amigos,” because their dedication and loyalty to Job started on the right path.
Job-chapter 2 verses 11-13:
“Three of Job’s friends were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.”
If you look at verse 2:11, I believe the men came for three reasons:
to sympathize with him
and what I like to call the ministry of presence.
They just showed up!
But how did they show their love to their friend? How did they help their friend when he was suffering and in pain? We can learn from their example:
1. They cared enough to go to Job without being asked. They simply responded with sympathy and comfort.
2. They were not turned off by Job’s distasteful sights and openly expressed the depth of their feelings.
3. They understood Job’s sorrow and simply sat with him for 7 days and 7 nights.
Friends care enough to come without being asked and they respond with sympathy and comfort.
Time speaks volumes to people. If someone you love is hurting, the best gift you can give is often your time. This might look like giving up your own needs and concerns in order to care for your friend.
Do you care enough about your friend to sacrifice your time and money in order to truly show up?
If you have a friend in need, I encourage you to run an errand for them. Take care of their kids and give them time to process on their own. Provide a meal. Assist wherever you need to and remember a friend loves at all times.
Secondly, a friend is not deterred by distasteful sights and openly expresses the depth of their feelings.
Imagine what it would have been like for Job’s friends as they traveled to be with him. I am sure they were wondering what to expect. They were confident that they should go to Job but were most likely unsure of what they would find when they arrived. The Bible says that “Job’s friend saw him from a distance and they scarcely recognized him.”
Job’s friends “wailed loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to demonstrate their grief.” These friends expressed their feelings with an ancient expression of grief by tearing their clothes and throwing dust over their heads up into the sky. As an act of understanding and companionship, they sat on the ground with Job for seven days and nights.
How do you respond to a friend who is in need?
Especially when a friend is hurting or grieving?
May I gently invite you to be there for the friend who needs you right now? Will you love your friend when you can barely recognize them through their troubles? Will you be the friend who sticks around when the going gets tough and the bottom falls out?
It is time for each of us to show deep love for our friends by showing up. The challenge is to choose to allow the needs of your friend to draw you into a deeper relationship of love and care.
Lastly, friends understand, so they say very little.
I love how Warren Wiersbe writes of this: “The best way to help people who are hurting is just to be with them saying little or nothing, and letting them know you care.”
Job’s friends stayed because they had every reason to be near him. They stayed by his side and kept their lips sealed. Unfortunately, after the first seven days, they chose to become like prosecuting attorneys versus witnesses. We can learn from this, too. There is no need to try to explain everything or make it better. Explanations never heal a broken heart. If Job’s friends had listened to him and accepted his feelings, instead of arguing, they would have been more helpful.
Simple ways we can be silent and say very little are through prayer, pointing them towards God’s word, and having patience through the process. Our presence and our tears say much more than our words ever will.
Friendship is a treasure and worth the sacrifice! I hope that this has helped you think of some ways that you can grow in your friendships and challenged you to be that true friend who loves at ALL times.